Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemistry



First Advisor

James Fasching


Eighteen elements were determined in several sedimentary strata layers using Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) and Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS). Proceedures for the trace elemental analysis were developed and applied to both a bulk sample analysis and an analysis of selected size fractions from these samples. Care was exercised in the handling in the handling of samples to minimize contamination and losses associated with trace element analysis.

The strata studied were selected from the plio-pleisocene sediments of Lake Rudolf, Kenya. This region is currently under extensive archeological and paleontological observation. Samples consisted of several sand and clay paleosol units and a number of volcanic tuffaceous horizons. It was of interest to determine the feasibility of using an elemental analysis as a stratigraphic correlation method for this region.

Determination of seventeen elements was made by INAA. Four of these, Sodium, Aluminum, Vanadium, and Manganese, were accomplished by a short irradiation and thirteen others by a long irradiation. Manganese and magnesium were determined by AAS, after a hydrofluoric acid decomposition.

The concentrations determined show differences in the samples. Volcanic tuff units show variation in their degree of weathering, which may lead to a correlation based on their change from primary magma. Sand and clay paleosols tend toward more regional relationships rather than individual horizon correlations. Additional correlative conclusions must wait until a more extensive study can be made. The current investigation indicates that such an elemental determination will aid in the geological study of this region and when integrated with other methods will help to determine relationships in the stratigraphy.



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